Doctors are humans just like us. As such, they are imperfect and are prone to making mistakes every now and then. Unfortunately, since medical professionals have such a strong influence over the health and wellbeing of the patients in their care, these mistakes can come with devastating consequences. But under what circumstances does a medical error cross the line of being a simple mistake and fall into the realm of negligence, giving patients the grounds to sue for medical malpractice?
To prove medical negligence occurred, a patient must be able to demonstrate the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed: Patients who sue for medical negligence must have had a doctor-patient relationship with the party who caused them harm. In most cases, this merely means showing that they hired the doctor and the doctor agreed to be hired. Voluntarily seeing a doctor and receiving care is usually sufficient to satisfy this requirement. On the other hand, individuals who are harmed after acting on medical advice gained while chatting with a doctor at a social gathering may have trouble demonstrating this relationship.
- The doctor acted in a negligent manner: Patients cannot sue their doctors for malpractice simply because they are unsatisfied with the results of their treatment. To be found liable for medical malpractice, doctors must have violated the medical standard of care in a patient’s diagnosis or treatment. This usually means that a doctor must have failed to act with the same care or skill that a competent doctor would have expressed under the same circumstances.
- The negligence caused real injury: Proving that a doctor made a mistake is not enough to prove medical negligence. Additionally, you will need to show that their actions caused you to suffer some sort of real injury or worsening of your health. The point of this is to show that your injuries were indeed caused by a doctor’s careless actions rather than another factor outside of their influence.
- You suffered real damages: Even if all of the above requirements are met, you do not have a case if no real harm was caused. Examples of specific damages include pain, mental distress, additional medical expenses, reduced quality of life, or long-term loss of earning capacity.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Charlottesville
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a negligent medical provider, contact the Charlottesville personal injury lawyers at Central Virginia Litigation, PLC. With more than 30 years of proven legal experience, our trial-tested advocates have what it takes to help you hold those responsible accountable for your suffering and pursue the fair compensation you deserve.
Call (434) 329-7071 or contact our office online today to get started.